We live in an age of promising rhetoric. As I listen to the speech of the day, it appears to be falling into a pattern. History is filled with the unfulfilled promises. Many were delivered with passionate conviction. I assume that the audience of the day was filled with confidence and hope. In time, the promises went unfulfilled. I reflect and wonder if we are merely repeating history.
There is a way to break the pattern. The process applies politics, business, and even the promises of religion. I suggest we consider the following.
Promises require action. What we do after a promise is given is crucial. There needs to be a clear link between the purpose of what we do and related commitment. The connection starts within; if we do not see the link, nobody else will either.
Promises require accountability. Accountability is a function linked to time, movement, and results. Within a reasonable time, promises require actions (movement) that produce results. The connections between these will determine how accountable we are to each other.
Promises require outcomes consistent with initial expectations. Embedded in rhetoric is the truth of our communication. When individuals hear something inconsistent with the speaker’s intent, it is the role of the promise maker to clarify. When the rationale of the promise changes, truth requires transparent communication.
God gave us a promise. “He raised Jesus, exactly as described in the second Psalm: My Son! My very own Son! Today I celebrate you!” (Acts 13.33) There was action, accountability, and consistency.
We live in communities defined by promises. I have embraced the promise of compassion, mercy, and family. Each is a word describing love. To keep my promise I must act. I also need to live in consistent ways, looking honestly at the results of my hands, feet, and words.
Promises require attention and action. They define our life purpose. Each requires our attention and follow through. It is a calling filled with an invitation from God. Our story today will convey our answer. I hope your response and mine is yes.